Changing of the guard ceremony returns to Buckingham Palace

Royal service resumes! Crowds queue up outside Buckingham Palace as Changing of the Guard returns for the first time since March 2020

  • Changing of the Guard has returned to Buckingham Palace for the first time since the start of the pandemic
  • Ceremony was completed by the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and the Band of The Coldstream Guards 
  • Event sees The Queen’s Guard handing over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace to the New Guard

Changing of the Guard today returned to Buckingham Palace for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic with the musical backdrop paying tribute to the success of the Team GB Olympians.

The ceremony, which hasn’t been performed since March 2020,  was completed by the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards  and the Band of The Coldstream Guards, but Her Majesty is yet to experience the return of the spectacle as she is currently in Balmoral, her summer home in Scotland.  

Songs trumpeted out by the Band of the Coldstream Guards in honour of Britain’s Olympic achievements included Spandau Ballet’s Gold; The Olympic Theme; Chariots of Fire; and Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time.

The event sees The Queen’s Guard handing over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace to the New Guard, usually involving soldiers in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats parading with an army band through central London.  

The colourful military spectacle – one of the most time-honoured traditions at the Queen’s London home – was halted around 18 months ago to avoid attracting huge crowds of tourists during lockdown, but the display did go ahead at Windsor Castle last month. 

Changing of the Guard today returned to Buckingham Palace for the first time since March 2020. Pictured: The Queen’s Guard today

The ceremony, which hasn’t been performed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, was completed by the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and the Band of The Coldstream Guards.

Members of the public gathered to watch the prestigious Household Division undergo the prestigous ceremony today wearing their famous bearskins and red jackets.

Crowds are seen by the gates of Buckingham Palace as the formal ceremony returned after nearly 18 months 

Ceremonial duties will now continue at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and the Tower of London on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  

Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew Stokes of the Coldstream Guards, who was in charge of the ceremony’s return, said: ‘It’s been a long time coming.

‘Bearing in mind it’s been 18 months since we last did a ceremonial Changing the Guard (at Buckingham Palace), there’s been an awful lot of hard work and preparation getting people up to standard.’

The Olympic medleys were chosen in ‘tribute to the success of our Olympians which we’re incredibly proud of’, he added.

Members of the public gathered to watch the prestigious Household Division undergo the prestigious ceremony today wearing their famous bearskins and red jackets. 

During the pandemic, an ‘Administrative Guard Mount’ went ahead in place of ceremonies, this saw soldiers take up their sentry duty positions but no formal changeover procedure was carried out. 

Ceremonial duties will now continue at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and the Tower of London on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Queen’s Guard have not gathered for the ceremony in London for 17 months to stay ‘in line with Government advice to avoid mass gatherings’, but the display did go ahead at Windsor Castle last month.

During the pandemic, an ‘Administrative Guard Mount’ went ahead in place of ceremonies. This saw soldiers take up their sentry duty positions but no formal changeover procedure was carried out (pictured today) 

Pictured: The troops shoes immaculate polished shown during the ceremony at Buckingham Palace today

Household Troops have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces since 1660. When Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace in 1837, the Queen’s Guard remained at St James’s Palace, with a detachment guarding her official residence in London. Troops are pictured today

The guard duties are normally provided by a battalion of the Household Division, but soldiers from Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have all participated. Troop are pictured today

Dozens of people gathered outside the Queen’s London residence today to get a view of the spectacle 

Crowds were seen on both sides of the street to watch the Changing of the Guard and the troops at Buckingham Palace

The division has also met for scaled-down ceremonies in the last year and half including a ‘mini’ Trooping of the Colour. 

The roots of the Changing of the Guard ceremony can be traced all the way back to the reign of Henry VII when the first royal bodyguard was created. 

Household Troops have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces since 1660. When Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace in 1837, the Queen’s Guard remained at St James’s Palace, with a detachment guarding her official residence in London.

Members of 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards attend the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace in London, today

Songs trumpeted out by the Band of the Coldstream Guards in honour of Britain’s Olympic achievements included Spandau Ballet’s Gold; The Olympic Theme; Chariots of Fire; and Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time.

The colourful military spectacle – one of the most time-honoured traditions at the Queen’s London home – was halted around 18 months ago to avoid attracting huge crowds of tourists during lockdown, but the display did go ahead at Windsor Castle last month

The guard duties are normally provided by a battalion of the Household Division, but soldiers from Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have all participated. 

The pause during the ongoing pandemic was the first time there had been in a significant break in the ceremony.

Even through the dark days of the Blitz, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace continued. 

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